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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 27, 2024 1:00am-2:00am PST

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and some likely saw a lot and had been fairly quiet like, say, h.r. mcmaster. mike pence, i know you kind of sort of spoke up during the campaign, but he sent a mob to hang you. maybe we could hear more about that, how it all went down, what you saw. the burden of speaking up and speaking out should not have to rest on the shoulders of these young women, but i sure am glad they are will. that does it for me tonight. the rachel maddow show starts right now. hi, rachel. >> hey, jen, that was awesome. thanks to you for joining us this hour. a lot going on. fiona hill is going to be joining us here live tonight.
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fiona hill was senior director for russia and europe at the national security council during the trump presidency, which means she had a terrifying front row seat to some of the weirdest things any u.s. president has ever tried to get away with. fiona hill is here tonight as there have bindramatic developments today about the informant who provided the central allegations at the heart of congressional republicans efforts to impeach president biden this year. this informant today was sent to jail indefinitely by a federal judge in california. he is in jail awaiting trial. prosecutors arrested and indicted him a week and a half ago, alleging his statements to law enforcement about president biden and his family not only were lies but this man had been fed lies and disinformation about president biden by russian intelligence. despite those ties to russian intelligence, a magistrate last
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week somewhat inexplicabley allowed the man to be released awaiting trial with an ankle monitor. this federal judge in california reversed that decision today, ordered the man jailed after prosecutors said they found among other things nine guns in his apartment and the judge said that he believed the man was trying to abscond from the united states. well, he will not be absconding from anywhere. he's in jail awaiting trial in this remarkable turn in that story, fiona hill is here to talk about that tonight. about what is apparently now the third straight election in which russian intelligence appears to be engaged in efforts to help donald trump and republicans and to hurt the democratic candidate who is running against trump. only this time, of course, there's a big new assist from one american citizen who now runs twitter, where he has ordered a stop to any efforts to even try to block russian disinformation operations
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targeting the u.s. public and specifically promoting a new u.s. civil war, which seems like the thing they're most on to in this election cycle. his platform is hosting and he personally is promoting not only fawning long online interviews with vladimir putin but also outright propaganda praising life in russia, waxing poetic about how much better russia is than the united states. he personally, mr. musk, has been lobbying that the united states should stop supporting ukraine in its war against russia. telling people to lobby their u.s. senators to not give ukraine any more support to effectively just let russia win. all the while, he has admitted personally intervening in the operation of his starlink satellite system to stop ukraine from being able to target the russian navy. so russia's doing what it's going to do. three elections in a row where russian intelligence is trying to help trump and republicans against the democrats. but it's happening now in the context of this war, and it's happening now in the context of this one particular american
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trying to play a very different role than what the u.s. is doing as its foreign policy. the united states is supposed to have one foreign policy. individual americans are not allowed to have their own foreign policy in contradiction to the united states foreign policy. you could have your own opinions but you're not supposed to be directing what the u.s. government does. the united states is also supposed to have robust means to make sure we protect ourselves in terms of our national defense. the reality this year in 2024 is that the u.s. is being targeted in a third straight election by russian intelligence trying to mess with our politics and install their preferred candidates in power here. and while we're trying to defend ourselves from that, we're also trying to help one of our allies fight off the russian military in the largest european land war since world war ii. so that's the stance of the united states, defend ourself against russian interference in our election again, and help our ally defend itself against the russian military.
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that's our stance as a country. the stance of two of our eccentric erratic increasingly extremist billionaires is apparently the opposite stance. and the stance of the republican party as a whole on that score is still maybe up for grabs. so we'll speak with fiona hill about that. we'll also speak with her about the startling new reports today that when russian opposition leader alexei navalny was killed earlier this month, he was reportedly about to be part of a prisoner swap where he would have been released to the united states. so like i said, there's lots to get to tonight. but we're going to start tonight with a name that long time rachel maddow show viewers might remember. name is george reekers. remember that name? he was famous for being one of the founders of the family
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research council, one of the original super anti-gay conservative culture war groups that became very influential in republican politics. in the 1980s, george reekers was a founder of the family research council. he specifically worked in the part of anti-gay politics that says that people can be cured of the gay. it can be reversed with just the right therapy. well, by 2010, there was george reekers being photographed at the airport in miami in the company of a handsome young man who mr. reekers had apparently met on mr. reekers first tried to explain that he had taken this handsome young man on an all expenses paid ten-day trip to europe because he needed help with his luggage. the young man himself seen here not helping with the luggage eventually explained exactly what he was paid for on that european trip. and george reekers ultimately resigned from his job at the anti-gay organization.
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in 2004, when republican president george w. bush was up for re-election, the republican party and the bush campaign enthusiastically promoted bans on same-sex marriage in multiple states. they expected anti-gay campaigning in as many states as possible would boost republican turnout and help bush's chances of being re-elected. demonize gay people, scare people about gay rights. you get conservative voters to turn out and they'll vote republican while they're there. bush was re-elected in 2004. those anti-gay state ballot initiatives may have helped with that. but then two years after bush left the white house, the man who had been chairman of the bush campaign at that time came out himself as gay. and to his credit, he set about trying to right the wrong he had been part of by persuading leading republicans to change their mind on marriage equality and to persuade the supreme court to support marriage equality, which they have done
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at least for a while. but honestly, it's like you can't swing a cat without hitting one of these guys. those anti-gay ballot initiatives that were supposed to help george bush in 2004, they got a big boost in 2004 when a group called the national association of evangelicals, huge influential religious group, decided in 2004 they would emphatically restate their opposition to homosexuality in all of its forms which effectively endorsed all of the anti-gay measures the republicans were promoting all over the country in advance of the election that year. the national association of evangelicals at that time was led by this man. ted hagert. who soon treated the country to not at all uncomfortable headlines like this one. quote, evangelist, i bought meth from gay escort. again, follow the bouncing ball. he found himself a very handsome man and it was never totally
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clear if he paid the handsome man for sex, using the drugs as the method of payment or maybe if he paid the man for the sex and the drugs together, kind of like a meal deal or something, but yeah, president of the national association of evangelicals. i got a million of these guys. trump's oklahoma state campaign chairman from 2016. it was a republican state senator who voted as an oklahoma state senator that businesses should be able to put up signs that said we don't serve gays here. trump's campaign chairman in oklahoma in 2016 busted in 2017 for soliciting sex from exactly who you think he would be doing that from. the republican mayor of spokane, washington, supported banning gay people from working in schools. later revealed to be meeting new friends, new, new friends all the time at, his handle was cobra 82. because of course it was, cobra
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82. sure. i could go on. really, i got a million of them. how much time do you have? this weekend was the conservative political action conference. it's an annual right wing conference thing. among the things you can reliably get at cpac every year is anti-trans rhetoric by the dump truck full and anti-gay sermonizing as well. this year was no exception. it's like that every year. cpac is run by a man named matt schlapp, it has been for years. in 2022 ahead of the congressional midterms mr. schlapp was in georgia. he was campaigning for the republican nominee for senate hearsal walker. remember herschel walker's senate campaign. the walker campaign sent one of their midlevel staffers, a male strafer, to drive matt schlapp around. in the car, schlapp allegedly put his hand on the young man's leg and then moved his hand and began aggressively fondling the
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the staffer's genital area in a sustained fashion without the staffer's consent. staffer claims that mr. schlapp invited the staffer to his hotel room. he declined. early last year, that young man sued matt schlapp for sexual battery. and as that lawsuit has dragged on, more allegations of sexual misconduct against matt schlapp have come to light as part of discovery in the sexual battery lawsuit, lawyers for the republican campaign staffer discovered that in 2017 at a cpac party, schlapp allegedly attempted to kiss a male employee against his wishes. they also discovered that at a fund-raising event in 2022, mr. schlapp was accused of stripping down to his underwear and forgive me, rubbing against another person without his consent. now, mr. schlapp for his part has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
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the lawsuit says the american conservative union, the parent company to cpac, which employed matt schlapp, knew about at least two allegations against schlapp before they became public, but the lawsuit claims the american conservative union has not only failed to remove mr. schlapp from his leadership position, they also failed to pursue any investigation into the claims of sexual misconduct. and so given that failure to do anything about the allegations, the american conservative union has now been added as a defendant in the matt schlapp sexual battery lawsuit. the organization has thus far spent upwards of a million dollars on matt schlapp's legal fees to defend himself in these sexual battery case. but they have meanwhile kept him in place to run the big annual anti-gay conference. because sure, that's fine. who will notice? here was the same matt schlapp,
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head of cpac, speaking this weekend about how conservatives in his mind need to approach the election this year. >> this year at cpac, we have different groups that have signed up to do different things. my call to the activist is get in those rooms. things have gotten so crooked. you have to be in the room where they're doing the count. most of these elections are attempted by temps in our largest cities. why don't we get those jobs? the other thing we have to do is intimidate in the nicest of ways all these officials that continue to flout the law. i don't care what jurisdiction you're in, go to the meetings. make appointments, make it very clear, become conversant with the law. if the citizens don't stand up, nobody in a white building in washington, d.c. is going to make any changes. >> we have to intimidate all of these elected officials.
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i don't care what jurisdiction you're in, go to the meetings. make it very clear. make appointments. we have to intimidate these elected officials says the head of cpac. the big not at all hypocritical anti-gay right wing confab that happened under his leadership. that was clipped by the group media matters. here's the same man, matt schlapp, with trump adviser steve bannon talking about what he thinks is the sort of takeaway message from cpac this year. >> everyone says oh, this is the most important election of our lifetime. i don't know if you call this an election. this is like the 2.0 of the american revolution. we're going to have all new heroes coming this year. we're going to remember their names forever. but stop talking and start doing. that was the theme coming out of this conference. no more complaining. no more talking. >> not an election this year, it's a revolution. it's the second american revolution, so no more talking. for his part, here was steve bannon's big charm offensive at cpac this weekend trying to
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persuade his fellow americans to win people over to his, you know, his way of thinking. >> they stole the 2020 election. media, i want you to suck on this. i want the white house to suck on this. you lost in 2020. donald trump is the legitimate president of the united states. trump won. trump won! trump won! trump won! trump won! trump won! his fate and destiny is to have the greatest political comeback in american history. november 5th, to drive the vermin out of 1600 pennsylvania avenue. biden, you and your crime family are nothing but trash. okay. on the 20th of january of 2025, we're going to take out the trash.
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>> behold, democracy. and the greatest nation on earth. i don't know how the election is going to go this year. that's what one side is offering. and maybe that is what the good and great people of the united states of america truly want. but it's not just cpac and their illustrious leadership. that's what's on offer here. even in print, these are adjacent headlines in "the washington post" yesterday. biden administration canceled $1.2 billion in student loans. right next to trump and allies planning militarized mass deportations, coma, detention camps. that's the choice. relief from high students loans or using the military to lock up millions of people in huge new camps. adjacent headlines in "the washington post" on the same
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day. both parties at the same point in general election campaigning thinking about what they want to be doing to present to the american people about what their idea is of governing. and i don't know which of those two sides the american people is more in the mood for, but it seems pretty clear to me at least that the best contrast for the democrats to draw for voters this year is maybe just the simplest one. normal, popular, practical accomplishments from president biden and the democrats. versus burn it all down radicalism being screamed at the top of their lungs by republicans under donald trump and you can't understand what they're talking about half the time because they speak in their own code. barbara mcquade, who you know and love from her time here as a legal analyst and explainer on msnbc, she has a new book that comes out tomorrow. it's called "attack from within, how disinformation is sabotaging
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america." and in her new book, among other things, barb explains what she sees as the connection between disinformation, which is the fundamental basis for the book, and authoritarianism. why you need to disconnect people from facts about the world, from the knowable truth and all its complexity in order to get people to endorse extremism, to endorse extreme new radical changes. to reimagine their lives and to reimagine their country in a way they never thought of it before. barb in her book talks about the need to hit people emotionally rather than logically. she talks about the -- sort of the utility of the would-be authoritarian leader or the authoritarian movement focussing rhetorically on declinism, convincing people the country is falling apart, the country used to be great but it's no longer great. it's falling apart. it's a disaster. if you can convince people of that, they will have an emotional reaction of being afraid about the state of the country, an emotional reaction about wanting to rescue the
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country if they can be convinced things are so far gone, they'll feel the need for extreme measures, for a strongman to come in, and maybe you have to wreck the place, break the rules, but it's a kind of rescue mission for our country that is otherwise lost. and what that means in practical terms, in terms of actually running a political campaign in a matter of months will supposedly pick a new president, what that means is every day making sure your message undermines the idea of democracy and the idea of the rule of law. so, i mean, this isn't theory. this isn't academic. this is our lives now. trump adviser steve bannon who you just saw there yelling about vermin and trash at cpac, he spent last week telling his podcast listeners that the tom suozzi election in long island was stolen. what? yes, in steve bannon world, this was the story of last week. this is the special election to replace george santos. there's no suggestion there was
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anything wrong with the count or anything wrong with the conduct of the election, but it doesn't matter. a democrat won, so therefore, steve bannon tells his acolytes and his followers that that election must have been stolen because a democrat won and they should not respect the results. even when it doesn't matter when it's one special election for one congressional seat and there's no real controversy about it, still, you have to say elections don't count. elections aren't real. now, on top of that, we have the republican national committee losing its chair, ronna romney-mcdaniel, being replaced summarily by a north carolina republican who is reportedly considered by trump to be more solid specifically on the issue of throwing out election results. ms. mcdaniel was no slouch on this issue herself, but apparently, trump wants something even stronger specifically on that point. he's a stop the steal guy, so he will be now running the rnc. if trump gets his way. and you know, the politics of
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running against democracy, the politics of getting americans to distrust elections and ultimately not want them anymore, that is inextricably intertwined with getting americans to not trust the legal system. not trust the courts and the legal system anymore. to not take it seriously, to not obey its dictates, to not respect any of its rules. and barb's book more than anything helped me see the connection between those two points. between getting rid of elections and getting rid of the rule of law. you have to get rid of the rule of law, right, undermine and problematize it so you can get away with what you're trying to do to elections. and this is all over the news right now. just on friday, the wisconsin ethics commission referred a trump pac and multiple republican officials for felony prosecution for their role in a wisconsin scheme to punish a republican leader in the wisconsin state legislature who trump thought didn't fight hard enough to throw out the election
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results in that state. we want you to throw out those election results. you don't do a good enough job, we're going to turf crimes. recommended for prosecution as of friday. last week, the u.s. supreme court refused to throw out the sanctions, the sanctions, the professional sanctions against sidney powell and lynn wood for their efforts to overthrow the election results. mike lindell, mike pillow, last week, he was ordered by a judge to pay up in a contest he held where he promised $5 million cash to anybody who could disprove his claims that a foreign government helped steal the election for biden. somebody did disprove those claims and now a court says mr. pillow has to pay. he of course does not want to pay, but a court says he must. in georgia, the right wing group true the vote that apparently ginned up all the false claims about supposed problems in the georgia elections in 2020, they made hay with those claims for
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not just weeks around the election but months and ultimately years. but when it got put through the legal system, they had to admit to a judge that no, they don't actually have any evidence to back up their claims that there was fraud in georgia. trump and multiple georgia codefendants are now going to go on trial for trying to overthrow the election results in georgia, which they did by citing this fake evidence from this group, true the vote. what will happen? in that case, will that case come to trial? trump and his codefendants' best hope is not their defense but their unrelated personal counteroffensive to try to discredit and disqualify the prosecutor to get her thrown off the case. the rule of law is protecting democracy. we gotta get rid of the rule of law. as barb says in her new book, attack from within, even as authoritarians claim the mantle of law and order, they work to insure it never applies to them. politicians who when targeted
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are deceptive about the motives of investigators and prosecutors, they undermine public confidence in law enforcement officers. in recent years, trump and his loyalists have used disinformation to attack agencies charged with enforcing the law, like the department of justice and the irs, in addition to prosecutors like the manhattan district attorney's office. when trump was under investigation for links between russia and his 2016 presidential campaign, he repeatedly called the probe a hoax and a witch hunt. he targeted the agencies conducting the investigation as a disgrace. when an fbi agent knocks on a door, witnesses are less likely to cooperate with officers they believe are a disgrace. jurors may not believe agents who testify in court after the president has accused their agency of planting evidence. as a result, our ability to enforce the rule of law erodes. attacks on the fairness and independence of the judiciary undermine the credibility of the courts and judges in the eyes of the public.
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leading to erosion of respect for the rule of law. they also create a danger that someone will turn criticism into action, and physically attack judges or even jurors. a very, very real threat. hypocrisy is like a cold windy day in the winter. you don't love it, but it's not like you don't expect it. but what barb mcquaid is writing about in her new book and what we're seeing from the campaign this year is something that is not inevitable. but something planned, something systematic, and something very, very, very radical. democrats are campaigning against it by saying, we're doing normal politics. delivering normal practical results for real world problems. the republicans are promising to burn it all down. they have to undermine the idea of democracy and the rule of law in order to get to their end game. the question, including the question for barb, is whether studying it and naming it and
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explaining how it works helps us fight it. joining us now is barbara mcquade, stalwart analyst of all legal things on msnbc and now author of the new book, attack from within, how disinformation is sabotaging america. barb, congratulations on this book. thank you for writing it. thank you for being here to talk with me about it as it's coming out. i'm really grateful. >> thank you, rachel. i'm honored to be here with you tonight. >> let me ask you the big picture first. the sort of, i think, meta project in your book is explaining how disinformation works, why people use it, what it looks like when they do use it, sort of how to recognize it in the wild. do you have faith at us learning this stuff, studying it, being able to recognize it, know how it works is the first step to us no longer being so susceptible to it. >> that's the goal.
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i really want to have a national conversation about truth and our commitment to it. my book is actually very patriotic. i'm appealing to people on our commitment to truth because i think we have seen so much in recent years, this not only con, where people are falling for disinformation, but i think we're also seeing people willingly going along with the con. they are choosing tribe over truth. they care more about the ends justifying the means. so i hope that by dissecting it, explaining it, and educating the public, we can all see disinformation for what it is so that we can begin to push back against it. >> barb, you write about the united states extensively and with a lot of detail, but you also draw in comparisons from other countries, you talk about other strongman leaders, countries who have transitions from a mostly democratic form of government to a less democratic form. do you believe we're kind of unexceptional and it's the same? we're as susceptible to it as every other country? >> actually, i think we're more
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susceptible to it than other countries. that's because some of our greatest strengths can also be our achilles heel. so, for example, our deep commitment to free speech in our first amendment. it is a cherished right. it's an important right in democracy, and nobody wants to get rid of it, but it makes us vulnerable to claims anything we want to do related to speech is censorship. the supreme court has held that all fundamental rights can be limited as long as there is a compelling governmental interest and the restriction is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. i think any time someone tries to do anything that might limit free speech, people claim censorship. just look at the case the supreme court heard today about efforts by the states of florida and texas to prevent social media companies from moderating content online. and they call it censorship that they're trying to silence conservative voices. of course, social media companies are private actors who
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are not bound by the first amendment. so we need to have a conversation and common sense solutions to these things. instead, we throw out terms like censorship, use named and labels and retreat to our opposite sides. we need to be pragmatic and come up with real solutions. it is i think one of the things that makes america particularly vulnerable to disinformation. >> the book ends with a fulsome detailed, well argued set of concrete recommendations for what we can do as citizens and the kinds of reforms in our government and in our democracy that might make a difference. as such, it is a real public service and a pleasure. the book is called "attack from within, how disinformation is sabotaging america." it is brand-new, just out as of right now from barbara mcquade, former u.s. attorney in michigan and our dear friend. congratulations and thank you. go get them. >> thank you so much, rachel. >> much more to come tonight. stay with us.
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so he was arrested and then released and then rearrested in the space of a few days. the informant who provided the central allegations behind congressional republicans' efforts to impeach president biden appeared in federal court today to face charges that he made it all up. that the stories he told the fbi about the supposed corruption of president biden and his family, those stories were lies. lies fed to him by his own admission by russian intelligence. his name is alexander smirnoff. he pleaded not guilty today but the judge hearing his case ordered him to remain in jail indefinitely awaiting trial, convinced by prosecutors' arguments that mr. smirnoff might flee the country before his trial. it's really impossible to overstate the degree to which this gentleman has been the
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centerpiece of the republicans' impeachment push against president biden. for months and months, republican lawmakers and conservative media have been trumpeting these bribery allegations made by smirnoff against president biden and his family. "the washington post" today estimates fox news alone mentioned it more than 2,600 times over the past single year. republicans in congress pushed the allegation endlessly, even though the fbi explicitly warned them that the claim was uncorroborated and unreliable. and now, the man who is the source of the allegation, the guy who said it, he's in jail indicted for lying to federal investigators about this very matter. and accused by prosecutors of feeding the fbi disinformation from russian intelligence. which would be shocking had we not lived through the last few years. because this of course is now
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the third straight presidential election cycle in which russian intelligence has done some version of this. in 2016, as you may have heard, russian intelligence hacked the democratic national committee and the hillary clinton campaign. and then they weaponized the material they stole by releasing hacked emails through wikileaks and all timed and strategically released to have maximum negative effect for the democrats and maximum positive effect for donald trump and the republicans. it was well known at the time this was likely a russian disinformation, but they ate it up and pounced on every email dump as if they had just come down from mt. sinai on tablets rather than being shoveled by russian intelligence into the garbage chute. remember trump talking at rallies about how much he loved wikileaks. he was asking for more. russian government and russian intelligence sources made multiple contacts with the trump campaign, russia ran a big weird social media campaign to try to influence american public debate and public opinion in trump's
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favor. the trump campaign gave nonpublic polling information to a russian intelligence agent according to the senate intelligence committee. the russians have this hack and leak campaign with the democratic emails. they were very busy in 2016 trying to help trump. then four years later, 2020, another try. this time trump's lawyer, rudy giuliani, was peddling stories about joe biden's supposed corruption he said he had dug up from sources in ukraine. once again, it turns out giuliani's main source was russian intelligence. a report from the u.s. office of the director of national intelligence later determined that giuliani's source was part of a u.s. election interference operation likely directed by putin himself. with the goal of helping trump win a second term in 2020. and once again, republicans had been warned by american intelligence officials that the stuff that giuliani was shoveling was likely part of a russian op.
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they apparently just did not care. and again, this is not some obscure thing. people got sanctioned by the u.s. government for this. people got indicted by the u.s. justice department for this. but who cares. it might have helped trump so we went along with it as far as we could. and now, four years later, here we are again. they keep doing this every election cycle. they keep doing some version of the same thing. the russians keep doing the same thing. what seems to be changing a little bit is that the republicans appear to have fewer and fewer qualms each year about welcoming and even participating in these russian campaigns. fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, shame on me. fool me three times i clearly want to be fooled or maybe we should stop calling this foolish. this is something else. we did this in 2016, we did it in 2020.
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now in 2024, republicans appear to be more enthusiastic about participating in it than they ever have been before. but of course, now, this russian disinformation campaign trying to paint biden as mired in some kind of bribery scandal, it's happening with american aid to ukraine hanging in the balance. with this life or death question looming of whether ukraine will be able to hold off a third year of the russian invasion. russia is doing everything it can to undermine american support for ukraine. and in the midst of a third straight effort by russia to influence our election to republicans' benefit, republicans frankly seem quite receptive both to that election interference and to what russia wants them to do in cutting off ukraine. how does that turn around? fiona hill was the top russia official on the national security council under president trump. she has seen some things and she knows some things, and she joins us next. have any idea? that they can sell their life insurance
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president putin and the russian security services operate like a super pac. they deploy millions of dollars to weaponize our own political opposition research and false narratives. when we are consumed by parties and rancor, we can not combat these external forces as they seek to divide us against each other, degrade our institutions and destroy the faith of the american people and our democracy. >> fiona hill testifying at president trump's first impeachment, describing how our faith in our own democracy is the kind of the center of the
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bull's eye, what they're aiming at when they try to hurt us the worst. in this election cycle, republican members have trumpeted claims that turn out to be from russian informants. he was jailed awaiting trial for lying to the fbi, feeding them what prosecutors say is disinformation targeting president biden that he got from russian intelligence. joining us now is fiona hill, former senior director for europe and russia at the national security council. really nice of you to be with us. thanks very much for making the time. >> thanks, rachel. >> both nbc news and "the washington post" today led with big stories about how this is the third straight election cycle where we have got pretty aggressive russian efforts to mess with us. in this election. do you agree with that characterization? >> i do. and look, i mean, very sadly,
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the russians have been at these kinds of operations for an extraordinarily long time. going back to the cold war, there were lots of efforts as well. unfortunately, we have made it easier than ever before to penetrate our politics and to be able to influence because of basically the structure of our own election campaigns. we have basically our own political parties trying to destroy each other. as you have been pointing out throughout the course of the program, we have our own political system that are just as keen in using disinformation as foreign adversaries. >> because you look at it with that long sweep, i feel like it's one of the big reasons i wanted to talk to you, because i have been very focused on 2016, 2020, and 2024, where russian disinformation, russian targeting of us wasn't just about making us hate each other and making us weak and making us distrust our democracy. it really was dovetailing with and therefore boosting donald trump and the republican campaign and helping one side and hurting the other. and maybe that's not their long
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term goal, but it's at least been their sort of short to medium goal. and that seems to be activating an instinct in the republican party if putin likes us, maybe we should like him back. i'm wondering if you see a way to interrupt that. >> well, look, i think it also requires responsible people within the republican party themselves to push back against this. you know, it's not every single person who is a member of that party. we have nikki haley out there who is running now what seems almost a futile campaign to compete with donald trump. obviously saying something quite different and calling out. and you know, on the disinformation, perhaps not in quite the same way you are, but she's trying to do that. i know and many people know behind the scenes there are members of the staff, senior staff on capitol hill, people in the senate, and surprisingly still, members of congress who
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behind the scenes are deeply troubled by this and trying to do something. in the heat of this campaign as you're pointing out, they seem to be much more interested in taking pot shots at president biden or basically trying to bring down their opponent than thinking about national security. i would have thought however given everything that's happened with the war in ukraine, the recent death of alexei navalny and just this piling up of information just as you're saying now, this criminal campaign or rather this prosecution of this fbi informant that surely people would have woken up to this. this is an issue of our national security, not just something about whether your guy is going to win in the election. >> on the national security point, i think of the united states as having a lot of tools to stand up for our national security. a lot of resources to bring to bear. but when it comes to defending ourselves against russian election interference, when it comes to standing up for our ally in ukraine and all the
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different ways that means, when it comes to responding to the murder of alexei navalny in russia, could the u.s. government be doing more? anne applebaum joined me last week and said something that stuck with me all week. she said if the united states government really wanted to get more serious, one of the things they could do is have thousands of people working on enforcing sanctions to make sure they bit harder and hurt the russian government more and more effectively. i wanted to get your response to that and also to find out if you think there's more we could be doing? >> there's certainly a lot more we could be doing. as anne points out, sanctions enforcement is part of the problem. we're actually seeing even some of our own allied countries that are basically buying more and more oil from russia and enabling them to bring in more revenues to keep prosecuting the war against ukraine. we have nato allies, european countries as well as these larger global partners, we're going to have to figure out how we work with them directly. it's going to be stepped up diplomacy, but she also does have a point about putting more resources toward that. now, we are of course also on
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the verge of a government shutdown. we also have members of the republican party and donald trump talking about basically dismantling the state apparatus which makes it very difficult. we can be much more creative. we can work closely with other european allies who actually have woken up to the threats and to get them to also exert pressure and to push back. we have the debate about what to do about russian frozen assets, for example, which is a major issue right now, which i know you have covered quite recently as well. and then when we get back to the topic you're talking about, about disinformation, some of the other cases that are running through, even in the supreme court right now about freedom of speech and the regulation of the social media platforms become relevant as well. because basically, x, it used to be twitter, in terms of stepping back from the regulation of some of the content on their platform, have opened it up even more to disinformation from russia. and other companies like meta, for example, you know,
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microsoft, they have actually been trying to do more here, but we should also be encouraging the private sector to step up at this crucial time. >> indeed. fiona hill, former senior director for europe and russia at the national security council, really appreciate you being with us here tonight to talk about all these different matters. really appreciate your time. >> thanks, rachel. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. the fuel you need to take flight. cirkul is the energy that gets you to the next level. cirkul is what you hope for when life tosses lemons your way. cirkul, available at walmart and
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so this is going oo be fun this week, maybe. i think probably it's going to be fun. as you know, michigan republicans have been fighting for months now over who is in charge. in january, some michigan republicans voted out their state party chair. then another group voted to keep her in. then the first group filed a lawsuit to force her out. they picked a new chair. the national republican party is siding with the new guy, saying he's the rightful head of the michigan republican party, but the original chair calls the new guy's faction an impostor organization fraudulently claiming to be the michigan republican party. she also posted a ten-minute video under this amazing caption, quote, chairwoman karamo provides valuable insights that will soon come to light. see, she provides them and they're coming soon. it's like organizing your own surprise party. here's what we know and what we think we know. there will be a michigan
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republican primary tomorrow. the primary will determine who gets some of michigan's delegates. the rest of the delegates will be chosen on saturday through a state party convention. or maybe through a food fight? michigan -- because michigan republicans can't figure this out, this saturday, there are not one but two competing michigan republican conventions. one in grand rapids, announced by the guy who says he's the chair. one in detroit announced by the lady who says she's the chair and he's an impostor. she, it should be noted, still controls the state party's website and its bank accounts so she's got that. when the stakes are this low, political chaos can be fun to watch. it is like a food fight. you know it's wasteful but it's hard not to laugh at like flying oatmeal, right? pity the michigan republican voter who just wants to cast a ballot. i mean, do you decide based on how far grand rapids is from your house or detroit? do you decide on whether you like pete or christina more as a name or a person or who seems like the impostor.
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which michigan republican party will end up being real. will a judge sort it out in time for the convention on saturday. watch this space. you have a lie policy you no longer need? now you can sell your policy - even a term policy - for an immediate cash payment. call coventry direct to learn more. we thought we had planned carefully for our retirement. but we quickly realized we needed a way to supplement our income. our friend sold their policy to help pay their medical bills, and that got me thinking. maybe selling our policy could help with our retirement. i'm skeptical, so i did some research and called coventry direct. they explained life insurance is a valuable asset that can be sold. we learned we could sell all of our policy, or keep part of it with no future payments. who knew? we sold our policy. now we can relax and enjoy our retirement as we had planned. if you have $100,000 or more of life insurance, you may qualify to sell your policy. don't cancel or let your policy
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i am every opponent you've ever faced. let's dance lizard. i can take any form i desire. awesome! i mean it's disturbing, but it's awesome. msnbc will have full coverage of the michigan republican primary for what that's worth and also the michigan democratic primary tomorrow night. tomorrow night beginning here at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. that's going to do it from me for now. "way too early" with jonathan lemire is up next. some documents recently leaked, s